Director Zack Snyder has revealed why he chose to partner with Netflix rather than his long-studio partner, Warner Bros, for his upcoming zombie heist film, Army of the Dead.
A regular partner to Warner Bros. since the 2006 release of his widely-popular 300, Snyder has made a number of movies over the years for the studio, including Sucker Punch, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and, of course, the numerous live-action adaptations of DC characters such as Watchmen, Man of Steel, and Batman v. Superman.
In fact, the director spent the past year working with the studio to put the finishing touches on his cut of Justice League, which is set to air on the Warner Bros.’ owned HBO Max.
But, after the debacle surrounding his leave from the original Justice League production due to a personal tragedy and WB’s subsequent butchering of his vision, it seems Snyder and Warner Bros.’ working relationship has soured, with Snyder jumping ship to Netflix in order to make his new zombie-themed heist movie Army of the Dead.
He revealed in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly that Army of the Dead, a longstanding passion project of his, gave him more reason to seek greener pastures as Warner refused to fund the film for ten years.
“They didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a zombie movie, or just didn’t take it that seriously,” Snyder recalled. “I was always like, ‘Look guys, this is more than [just a zombie movie],’ but it fizzled out.”
It’s obvious that Netflix, in turn, saw something that Warner didn’t, as the streaming giant quickly picked up the film’s distribution rights and got the ball rolling on its production. “We were in a meeting at Netflix and I was talking about some of these scripts I was working on,” Snyder said to EW.
“And I mentioned the idea to [Netflix head of original films Scott Stuber] and he was like, ‘That is the movie! Go write that movie and let’s make it’,” he continued. “I was like, ‘What, do you mean now?’ And he’s like, ‘Go write it tomorrow and we’ll do shoot it in a week’.”
Netflix executives also saw franchise potential, as it was announced soon after that Army of the Dead would receive an anime prequel series, aimed at thoroughly explaining the origins of the story’s zombie virus.
“I’ve done a very deep dive with the why of the zombie plague and where it starts,” Snyder revealed.
“Sufficed to say, that it does come from Area 51 — that’s in the film’s opening scene — and then the whole cast is in the animated series, along with Christian Slater as the bad guy,” he added. “We really do a super deep dive on where this like zombie plague came from.”
Snyder’s commitment to Army of the Dead may lead to Netflix being his new home base but, at the same time, his cut of Justice League is finished and coming to HBO Max in March, meaning he still has an active connection to WB.
Add to that how WarnerMedia poured tens of millions of extra dollars into realizing The Snyder Cut, alongside their decision to make Snyder’s ‘Ultimate Cut’ of Batman v. Superman available on the streaming service, and it appears that Warner may be trying to smooth things over in order to entice him back for future DC projects.
While ‘insiders’ have told the New York Times that they believed the Snyder Cut to be a “creative cul-de-sac”, and Snyder himself has said he is “good” when it comes to revisiting the DCEU, Geekosity’s Mikey Sutton has regularly assured fans that the studio is taking a wait-and-see approach in regards to the performance of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the future of the DCEU.
Army of the Dead is currently set to premiere on Netflix later this year.
Though promotional material for the film depicts comedian Chris D’elia as a member of the post-apocalyptic heist squad, he has since been replaced in the role by fellow comedian Tig Notaro after a number of young women came forward to accuse D’elia of numerous instances of sexual assault and sexual misconduct with underage fans.
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